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full name / name of organization:
Lotte Dam / Aalborg University
Theme: global tales
In Asia, Latin America, and Africa the fascination with products from Western modernity has had a long history, not only clothes, furniture, and cars, but also culture products. After 1980 the world has witnessed a cultural Americanization through the massive consumption of American material and symbolic products such as the fast food chain McDonald’s, Nike and Blockbuster. Shopping Malls have proliferated in Eastern Europe, Latin America and Asia, American through and through in their origins, but now notable symbols of the global culture. The film industry, especially Hollywood, and cable TV have created a common world of the imagination with figures, characters and narratives that make it possible for the audience of the world to project experiences, dreams and aspirations into them and through them.
The same concept is realized in different countries through programs such as Strictly Come Dancing and The X Factor. Programs such as these contain tales like Believe in yourself and It is good to be famous, and in this way there are also global tales at a micro level.
Today identity is not shaped by a priory tradition or culture, and the individual must create its own self-perception. The framework for this is postmodernism, which can be regarded as a global tale as well. In this tale cultures, subjects, and identities are seen as temporary, and in principle everything is negotiable.
Earlier on the local – e.g. the family, the village, the nation etc. – had the most decisive influence on ideas and relations, but today the access to the rest of the world is easier, both in a concrete physical sense and in a technological sense, and ideas and relations have their point of departure in a more global perspective. It is generally known that changes in one place may create global changes. For instance it is not enough to think nationally, as not everything can be contained within borders, e.g. questions of climate and of economics. This heightened interaction causes displacement of cultures.
According to Giddens the individual can participate in the creation of social influences through its creation of its own identity, and these social influences are of a global nature in their consequences. We are surrounded by narratives and possible choices, but the choice we make in every single situation has consequences for not only our own personal narrative, but also for others’. And vice versa. This is strengthened as we get more closely connected in networks of information technology, media etc. We are in a dialectics between the local and the global. The total global frame of reference is enormous, and new, more uniform tales of a more global character may arise. It may even be ventured to say that globalization is also an epoch of global narratives.
Global tales do not necessarily pertain to modern societies, but they may also be stories of any time common to all mankind. There is a treasure trove of legends and myths from different parts of the world with universal themes, dilemmas and morals. These can be found again in for instance folktales and cartoons, where the story is appreciated in a common understanding.
Suggestion for articles, including an abstract of 150 words to be mailed to Pablo Cristoffanini (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Lotte Dam (email@example.com) no later than 15 October 2010. Accepted articles – using the Harvard System Style Sheet – to be mailed to the editors no later than 1 December 2010. Articles will then be reviewed anonymously. The articles should be around 15,000-25.000 keystrokes. The issue will be published in the spring of 2011. See also the journal’s website: www.akademiskkvarter.hum.aau.dk